Mystery Monday – What Year did Adeline Shackford Hill Write to Samuel Shackford and which William is She Referring To? (Blog 378)

We are very glad that the Winnetka Historical Society saved this delightful letter that Adelaide Shackford Hill, daughter of Abigail Burnham Shackford sent to Samuel Shackford on January 23rd referring to an article that Samuel published debunking a rumor that a William Shackford had died leaving an $80,000 estate.

From Adelaide’s letter we learn that she has previously written to Samuel Shackford, that she is well educated and writes with and entertaining style, that she is taking German lessons and Turkish baths.  We also learn that she is living at 61 Washington Street in Dover, New Hampshire.

We’re hunting for newspaper articles which mention a William Shackford who left a large estate and also for the article by Samuel Shackford debunking this story. (We think there are other letters in this or other collections we’ve recently accessed that refer to this same story but can’t find them at this moment).

Letter from Adaline Shackford to Samuel Shackford Jan 23 (page 1 of 5), from Winnetka Historical Society

Adelaide S Hill [written in different handwriting]

Dover N. H. Jan. 23d
Dear Mr Shackford
Are you or
are you not the Samuel Shackford
of Winnetka to whom I have
so long owed a letter; and
if so will you absolve me
for my sin of omission, and
receive me again into your
good graces?
If you have inherited the
“cumulative humanities” of the
generations of Samuel Shackfords
who belong to us, I may take
your olive branch for granted
and proceed on our former
friendly plane.
Your article in tonight’s
paper is a great blow to
me. Is it really true
that no William Shackford
has departed this life? That
no eighty thousand dollars
is to be divided among the
numerous simple curious relatives?
Since hearing of that
unclaimed estate I have
labored with my slate and
pencil and evolved the
delightful possibility that
I, myself, might – come into
the possession of an amount
is larger, that to the end of
my days I could revel in
German lessons and Turkish
baths, my two greatest enjoy-
And now you ruthlessly
destroy these dreams!
I had even gone so far as to
ask a Justice of the Peace
if he would empower me to
go to Chicago and take possession
of the lamented William’s
effects. But said Justice,
being my paternal relative
and therefore incompetent
to judge of my remarkable
abilities, hesitated, and
now we are lost.
How do you intend to
atone for this destruction
of our hopes? Are we,
without a struggle, to sink
back into all the darkness
and degradation of poverty,-
and have not-even and
opportunity of speaking
our minds to the one who
extinguishes our beacon light?
Never! You are hereby
invited to present yourself
before a court of Shackfords
at 61 Washington Street
Dover New Hampshire
at your earliest convenience.
Per order of the Court –
Your disappointed but
ever dutiful cousin.
Adelaide L. Hill

All posts on this website are a work in progress.  We’d love to learn of any corrections or additions to the information shared.  Also we’d love it if  you’d like the post here or at as that helps share the post with others. Thanks!


“Samuel Shackford,” ; [research on shackford family genealogy], 1988.325.1; Samuel Shackford; Winnetka Historical Society, 511 Linden, Winnetka, Illinois. Letter from Adelaide S Hill to Samuel Shackford January 23 [year not listed].

Copyright 2017 Joanne Shackford Parkes  (sharing a link to this post is appreciated but please do not just copy this material and paste it elsewhere)


One thought on “Mystery Monday – What Year did Adeline Shackford Hill Write to Samuel Shackford and which William is She Referring To? (Blog 378)

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